FIFA World Cup: Argentina’s Di Maria, De Paul ‘fit’ for semifinal clash with Croatia

Argentina’s Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria have overcome injury concerns and will be available to face Croatia in their World Cup semifinal, Albiceleste manager Lionel Scaloni said on Monday.

De Paul was forced off in the second half of Argentina’s quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands on Friday with a hamstring problem while Di Maria has been nursing a quadriceps strain.

“Both players are fit,” Scaloni told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s match in Lusail.

“We have to think about how many minutes they’ll be able to play. We can wait until tomorrow to make a decision but my understanding is that they will be okay to play.”

Croatia reached the semifinals with successive penalty-shootout wins over Japan and Brazil in their two knockout matches so far while Argentina progressed by beating Australia 2-1 and the Netherlands on penalties.

The winner of the clash at Lusail Iconic stadium will meet either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday.

Argentina will be without Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna for the semifinal after both players picked up a second yellow card in the clash against the Netherlands, reports Xinhua.

Croatia, meanwhile, have no suspensions and no reported injuries.

“The best recovery (from physical problems) is winning,” Scaloni said. “We were able to reach the semifinals and despite a load of minutes, we’re doing well. We have two players who are sanctioned and we’ll see how we deal with that but generally speaking, the squad is in good shape.”

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